Whether you’re an experienced veteran at trade events or a complete novice to the scene, commonly made mistakes can be a costly exercise that can lead to poor ROI and sales performance.
Within this article, we shine a light on 10 major mistakes that you should avoid and prevent from occurring by reading below. This will save you time, stress and wasted investment, which can invariably put you off from exhibiting in the future, thus missing out on numerous lucrative opportunities.
1) ATTENDING THE WRONG EVENT
The worst mistake you can make is to hastily book your place at the completely wrong event.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into booking a stand or a stall at an event if you feel it’s not right for your brand or offering.
At most events, audiences are very much geared towards what they expect to see. So if your products or services do not fit in, you’ll find yourself in a very lonely place with very little interest, and highly unlikely to make the money back you invested in your attendance.
If you find an event you wish to attend, speak to past exhibitors to get an insight into how the event is ran and the quality of the attendees. These two facts alone will tell you if your time, money and energy is justified being a part of it.
2) POOR QUALITY BOOTH DESIGN
If your booth is badly designed or sub-standard, you’ll make a poor first impression.
It’s well known fact that trade event attendees make judgements on booths and exhibition stands in seconds, so don’t be a victim of poor presentation.
Set aside as much budget as possible for your stand. Make your exhibition stand design colourful, make it inviting and above all, make it represent your brand in the best possible way.
3) POOR STAND LOCATION
It’s not just the real estate sector that says it’s all about the location, location. Your stand location also plays a huge role in success at trade events.
Choose wisely and you could find yourself in a position that has a great footfall. Choose poorly and things may stay very quiet for very long!
If you find yourself failing to get noticed in cluttered in a low traffic area or are squeezed out by other larger stands selling similar products or services to you, trade could be very slow indeed.
Great locations include spaces adjacent to entranceways, main connecting corridors, food courts and yes, even next door to the toilets!
4) NO PRE-EVENT MARKETING
In many cases, trade events are poorly marketed by the organisers, so don’t rely on them to do your job for you. If you want people to come to your stall, reach out and tell as many people as you can, long before the even starts.
In this digital age, there’s a plethora of tools available to you, so take advantage of them. Social media, email marketing, website updates and press releases are just a few ways you can get your message out to the masses.
It’s a fact that 70% of trade show attendees have already made their minds up which booths they plan on visiting before the trade show begins. So make sure you’re one of them.
5) NO PRE-DEFINED GOALS
If you attend a trade show with little or no clear goals on what you need to accomplish, then how will you measure your return on investment?
Once you have your trade stall ready to go and the event has began, you should have a clear idea of the costs involved to get you there. So set goals based on those costs and aim to achieve sales that exceed them to give you a target to make a good return on your spend.
Goals may include collecting warm leads, networking with other businesses, making sales, or launching a new product into the market. But whatever you choose, make sure your goals are achievable and that you collect sufficient information to measure if you reached them.
6) POORLY TRAINED SALES TEAM
Although you may have a great team of salespeople who understand the bricks and mortar of your business, they may not be used to the hustle and bustle of a busy trade event.
Avoid any potential dips in performance by ensuring your team are sufficiently trained and well-versed in the do’s and don’ts of trade show selling.
Interaction is key so make sure they are confident and happy to engage with people on a one-to-one basis and are open, friendly and happy to answer any questions people may have.
7) FAILURE TO EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY
Unfortunately, organisations that are frugal with the use of technology will not be memorable, nor will they attract or retain attendees.
As an exhibition booth marketer, it’s a must to embrace technology and not be cheap with it either. Technology is seen as the norm with the current generation. Including it will both attract and engage your visitors, so use it wisely.
8) NO GIVEAWAYS OR SAMPLES
If you fail to give away samples or free branded products, then don’t expect people to remember you for long.
There’s a variety of ways to give freebies to passing trade. Anything from simple low cost leaflets and brochures, to more elaborate branded t-shirts, caps and hoodies, to cell phone chargers, cases and USB storage sticks.
9) OVERLY AGGRESSIVE SELLING
No one likes an overly pushy salesman, so ensure your team strike the right balance.
If your sales team is purely focused on trying to make direct sales, their mentality will be too focused on the end goal rather than trying to build a rapport with a willing audience. They’ll be more likely to turn away prospects and leave a bad impression on visitors.
You want to have a relaxed and approachable sales team that is there to inform and educate people about the products and services you offer, and how they can help these people. Always keep this in mind.
10) NO FOLLOW UP
Following up warm leads is absolutely essential after a trade event.
If you do not follow up with leads generated at the show quickly, that initial interest will tail off very fast!
At the show be sure to collect critical intel such as contact names, email addresses, phone numbers and personal comments from every lead.
As soon as the show has concluded, have your team follow up and get them to close those all important deals.
If you’re heading to a trade show in the near future, don’t miss our great selection of pop up gazebos.